The new sixth-generation Ford Mustang will be sold in the UK and Europe, as well as around the world. Ahead of its launch in the UK in 2015, we talk the Mustang's chief engineer Dave Perciak on what to expect from the new 'pony car'.
How long have you been working on the sixth-generation Ford Mustang?
We started in early 2010, looking at the whole idea, about what the Mustang was going to be and how much it was going to change. Around one year ago the first prototypes were running around so we could validate the suspension and other settings.
Have you engineered the Mustang differently because it’s now being sold worldwide?
We didn’t decide to make a global Mustang, but to take the Mustang global. It’s a subtle but very important difference. We weren’t going to let other markets influence the Mustang, even though the world was ready for the Mustang before we were ready to sell it to the world. But that thought kept driving us – the world wants the Mustang because of what it is. We believe 100% this is a true Mustang. We don’t want to offer something that’s compromised, we want to offer Mustang in its true form.
Have you tuned the Mustang specifically for European roads?
We didn’t have to change anything – all that’s different are the things required for homologation, or because they’re not legal. We’re cognisant of where we’re going to sell the Mustang. European roads are one of the inputs we’ve taken into account.
All European cars will have the Performance Pack which means a larger radiator, summer tyres, 19in wheels, not 20s, with wider 275-rear tyres on the V8, upgraded brake cooling, six-piston calipers for the V8 and four-piston for the Ecoboost, and upgraded and specifically tuned axles.
What advantages does the new independent rear suspension bring?
IRS was always planned from the start. We could have taken a solid rear axle global, but this has allowed us to go even further. IRS improves both stiffness and compliance. There’s half as much squat under acceleration, plus it’s more planted, more stable, but also less harsh with better primary and secondary ride.
Tell us about the new four-cylinder Ecoboost engine
It’s been specifically designed and engineered for performance. There’s a twin-scroll turbo, a steel crank, more power and torque than the V6, and significantly improved economy.
The 3.7-litre V6 is essentially a carryover and in the US the Ecoboost will outsell the V6. Will the Ecoboost engine sound like it belongs in a Mustang?
With the Ecoboost engine we have both active noise cancellation, and we also amplify the existing engine sound order. We don’t create an artificial sound, we don’t pluck one off the shelf, we bring in the real sound, process it, and play it through the car’s speakers. Today’s V6 sounds fantastic, and although the Ecoboost won’t sound like a V8, it won’t sound like it doesn’t belong in a Mustang either.
What work have you done to the 5.0-litre V8?
We’ve made massive improvements with revised higher-lift cams, better flow from the cylinder heads, a new intake manifold, valve springs and conrods from the Boss 302. Top speeds have been raised across the range, and the V8 now does 155mph.
How quick will it be?
We’ve set some really aggressive performance: we’ve added aluminium, optimised the car, and our goal for a Performance Pack V8 is to beat the Boss at the track. We’ve very happy with our performance.
When you first take off and roll, even if you’re blindfolded, you’ll know you’re in a Mustang, but when you push harder you’ll find it’s extremely well balanced, and that it’s a better car than the driver. We’ve raised the chin-up bar significantly.
Will there be a Shelby version of the latest Mustang? Can the 662bhp V8 from the outgoing GT500 fit?
The 5.8-litre supercharged engine? We’ve not excluded it from fitting. Modifications will have to be made, but will it go under the hood? Yes, it will…